Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Skills Table Develops Northern Air Cargo Business Through Training

News Release

For Immediate Release

Skills Table Develops Northern Air Cargo Business Through Training

Vancouver, B.C., July 27, 2010 - The Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table is funding the training of  workers at the Prince George Airport (YXS) to help boost the Northern Gateway's cargo activities. Initiatives Prince George will receive the funding to assist YXS with training and certification programs for logistics workers in Prince George and employees at the Prince George Airport, in order to increase the attractiveness of YXS to global freight operators.

"This program will enhance the performance of YXS, improving the service provided for air cargo carriers stopping here for refueling or cargo handling," said Tim McEwan, president and CEO of Initiatives Prince George.

John Gibson, CEO of the Prince George Airport Authority said, "Because our location is ideal for cargo aircraft requiring stops when crossing the Pacific, developing a highly-skilled and productive workforce will be an asset in delivering services efficiently to the international clients who utilize our airport."

Other initiatives funded by the Skills Table include HR Essentials, a workshop for small-and -medium sized employers teaching best practices in recruitment and retention; and The Business of Shipping, a course developed with the B.C. Chamber of Shipping and endorsed by the international Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers that provides an overview of the shipping industry to workers in the marine or transportation sectors, and to new recruits. Both programs are offered in locations across the province.

"Our Government is taking action to ensure Canadians have the skills they need for the jobs of the future," said the Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. "We are pleased to be working in partnership with the B.C. government and the Skills Table to create jobs in the community and strengthen Canada's position within the Asia-Pacific markets."

The Province of British Columbia is funding the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table with over a quarter of a million dollars from the Strategic Training and Transition Fund (STTF) to support skill development for workers in the Asia Pacific Gateway. More than 1,000 British Columbians working in the Gateway are expected to benefit from the funding. All projects are targeted at people working to construct, expand and operate B.C.'s trade corridor, to ensure that Canada is able to leverage growing trade opportunities with Asia.

"We continue to work aggressively to enhance infrastructure at the Prince George Airport.  We need to be able to attract global freight operators and to accomplish that it means having well trained staff," said Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George - Valemount and the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.  "These funds will assist YXS in developing ground aviation workers who will play a critical role in the movement of cargo.

"Provincial funding comes at a time when many British Columbians affected by a slower economy are seeking to retrain and improve their skills," said Oksana Exell, Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table executive director. "Through these programs, the Province is showing their commitment to the success of workers building B.C.'s Gateway and the companies that work to ensure an efficient gateway for Canada's growing trade with Asia."

The Skills Table is a federally funded cross-sectoral organization of Gateway stakeholders that responds to human resources and skills development pressures associated with the growth and expansion of the Asia Pacific Gateway. The mission of the Skills Table is to ensure the Gateway has enough people with the right skills and training to meet its needs.

Initiatives Prince George aims to be the creative, energizing force that makes Prince George an integrated and sustainable, manufacturing, transportation, supply and service centre, and the inland gateway for goods flowing between Asia and North America.

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government is investing $500 million in a two-year Strategic Training and Transition Fund. The fund will support provincial and territorial initiatives that help workers retrain to retain employment or transition to new jobs in communities and sectors affected by the economic downturn. It will also ensure that individuals affected by the downturn are eligible to participate in the training or other employment initiatives that they need during difficult times. 

- 30 -


For more information, please contact:

Godfrey von Nostitz-Tait
Communications Coordinator
Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table
604-684-1471 x106

Vashti Cotton
Communications Manager
Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table
604-684-1471 x102

Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table wishes to acknowledge the funding support from the Sector Council Program, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative led by Transport Canada.